The Hand Society governance is broken down into three divisions: Research, Education and Practice. Each of these divisions is akin to a leg of a stool. When each is strong and prospering, together they allow the stool to be balanced and withstand the weight of the objects placed on the chair.
The Education Division is further subdivided into the Annual Meeting Group, Products and Publications Group and Courses Group. Although the ASSH has been known for its outstanding Annual meeting, the activities in the Courses and Publications Group have balanced the Education division to effectively provide all aspects of the education of the surgery of the hand.
When Dr. Ed Akelman was the Education Division Director, he focused on continuing to provide high quality and valued educational products to our members and customers, revitalizing the CME and publication committee by improving processes, and developing a cohesive plan for all educational products. Over the past 4 years, these focuses have remained the keystones to the way the education division has worked.
Courses and Meetings Group
Under the direction of Peter Murray, MD (Courses and Meetings Advisory Committee chair) and John Seiler, III, MD (Annual Meeting Committee Chair), we have continued to streamline didactic and surgical skills courses and have made our Annual Meeting the highest attended hand surgery meeting in the world. This year at the AM we will be introducing pre- and post-course skills courses as well as making our electronic environment more accessible. From a course perspective, effectively we have a three year course schedule that is continually adjusted after evaluating the needs of our members and customers.
With Jay Pomerance leading the way as Chair of the Self Assessment Committee, we were able to transition into a web based format for the self assessment exam. Of individuals who took the web based SAE, 99% passed despite the newly set pass rate of 50%. 93% of post test survey respondents favored the new format, appreciated the ability to take the exam up to two times, and felt it was a better educational experience than the paper format. Next year the exam will only be offered as a web-based exam.
This year, we received another four years of CME accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. As a CME provider, the ASSH is able to offer a wide variety of high quality CME options to all our stakeholders.
Publications and Products
Under the direction of Dave Slutsky, MD (Chair, Publications and Products Advisory Committee(PPAC)), we have developed a three year publications pipeline that has been highly successful and has become the model of other organizations. By having ASSH Staff work closely with PPAC to create a project management template for developing publications we have streamlined the process. The template outlines the most efficient and cost-effective way of producing print and digital products. Our goal is to provide guidelines to help authors, editors, and staff understand and accomplish their responsibilities throughout a project. Now we will begin planning our books differently with a longer development schedule that will allow us to take advantage of optimal publishing and printing technologies which will ultimately save costs. PPAC is creating a process for prioritizing publication projects based on demand/need for the topic, product type, availability of volunteers, timing with courses and staff capacity. This model has worked well to make our Master Skills book series integrate with our course schedule to minimize work, while still tapping in on the best expertise and responding to current member needs.
In the next several years we will be working on the following:
- Annual meeting – offering an enhanced meeting app for a paperless meeting, providing more surgical skills courses, more instructional lectures and increased opportunities for networking
- Courses – more stand-alone and online CME
- Publications – introduction of the first ASSH Textbook of Hand Surgery which will include a robust online platform with more than 80 videos.
Everyone on the education team is striving to provide a mechanism where ongoing and future projects of Education Division committees can be shared with each other to produce high quality, high value educational products (courses, meetings, publications, DVDs, and online education).
Thank you to all those dedicated chairpersons and committee members who have made this effort to improve our education possible. Coordination of the priorities and goals of the Education Division started a year ago, and remains a work-in-progress. As a member, your thoughts and insights are always welcomed.